A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Apr 29, 2022

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Important facts to know...

  • Not all car modifications are legal
  • Lowering your car will most likely increase your insurance premiums
  • Your auto insurance provider might refuse to pay your claim if you lowered your car without notifying them
  • Comparison shopping is the only way to get the best rates, whether your car is modified or not

Have you ever been tempted to tune up your car engine? Have you thought about adding some extra headlights? How about kitting out your vehicle with a new set of alloy wheels? Modifying your vehicle is an excellent way to personalize it, or even boost its performance.

The downside is that modifying your car can increase your auto insurance rates and in some cases, it can even provide a reason for the insurance company to deny your claim. However, not all insurers are the same. Comparison shopping is the only way to get the best rates, whether your vehicle is modified or not.

What does lowering your car mean?

Car modification is any procedure that seeks to alter the vehicle’s manufacturer specifications to increase performance, functionality, or aesthetics. Car lowering is a type of vehicle modification that makes your car sit lower than it did when you bought it. You can lower your car by purchasing a car lowering kit or replacing some of its individual parts. You might bend the leaf springs, adjust the torsion bar key, or shorten the coil springs.

Lowering your car so it’s closer to the ground is a well-known way of customizing your ride. If done right, it’s a great way to boost performance as well. Lowering your car leads to improved responsiveness, more stability, and grip at speed. Lowered cars are also more aerodynamic because there is less air hitting the wheels and tires.

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Why does the insurer care about what I do with my car?

You may be wondering why an insurance company cares about the changes you make on your vehicle. As long as you are driving safely on the road, why does the auto insurer care if you add something or change the appearance of your car? The reason behind the insurers’ insistence on being notified about any modifications is because they can be dangerous in some instances. Every design parameter of a car is keenly configured by the manufacturer and any changes would mean compromising the safety alignment of the vehicle.

Purchasing insurance for a modified car is not an easy task; you will pay more in insurance premiums. When looking for insurance for a modified car, compare quotes from several providers. You will find reasonable rates, but you have to be on the up and up from the get go. Hiding the fact that your car is modified will only cause trouble when you file an insurance claim.

Does lowering your car increase the chances of an accident?

There’s a reason why car lowering is one of the most popular forms of car modification. Lowering your car’s suspension increases comfort, reduces the risks of rolling over, improves traction and handling, and leads to better aerodynamics. But there are disadvantages too, and most of these downsides increase the chances of an accident, which explains why insurance providers charge higher premiums for modified cars. Here’s why lowering your car increases your auto insurance rates:

Towing and Lifting Problems

Lowering a car’s suspension will make the simple routine maintenance activities much harder. Paying a visit to a mechanic will cost you more, and if you have car insurance, some of this money will have to come from the insurer sooner or later.

Conflict with Other Parts

One of the most dangerous effects of lowered suspension happens when it comes into contact with other crucial parts of the car. A poorly installed suspension can chew up on your car tires causing major risks. Additionally, a lower suspension can get caught up with the sidewalls of the tires, sway bars, or even the anti-lock brake system thus increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Uneven Tire Wear

In some instances, lowered suspensions can lead to uneven tire, causing extreme wear patterns. Drivers should always be on the lookout for such effects every time they alter the suspension. Unevenly worn out tires can compromise the car’s stability on the road, especially when navigating sharp bends.

Increased Bottoming Out

When driving on rough roads, cars bounce all the time. When you have a lowered suspension and your car bounces, it will hit the ground. Speed bumps will also be a huge problem for you as a driver. The vehicle’s oil pan, as well as the exhaust system, could sustain the most damage from the bottoming out. Coming into contact with the ground can also cause serious damage to parts on the underside of the car. The insurer may increase your premium on learning about a lowered suspension as a way of transferring these additional costs to you.

In addition to all these issues, your car looks sportier and more desirable after a lowering the suspension. Consequently, it will have higher chances of getting stolen. You need to be aware of all the potential problems associated with lowering the suspension of your car before you go ahead with it. When looking for insurance for your lowered vehicle, obtain as many quotes as possible, it’s your only chance at getting better auto insurance rates for your lowered car.

Potential Rubbing on Parts or Tires

If done wrong, lowering can cause suspension and steering parts to contact each other, the wheels or the tires. It could also cause the tires to rub the body during turns or going over bumps.

What are the exclusions in your auto insurance policy?

All auto insurers have exclusions written in their fine print. Installing a lowering kit, tachometer, or a supercharger may all be exclusions under ‘racing parts.’ The problem is that modification-related exclusions are not always well-defined. In the case of an accident, damages will not be covered if these inclusions comprise lowering your car. The auto insurer will not pay for anything involved in the lowering of the vehicle, which will solely be your responsibility.

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How will the insurance company find out if you lower your car?

If you do the work on your own, probably in your home garage, the insurance will only find out when you get in an accident. When the company sends investigators to assess the damages, he/she will know that the vehicle has been lowered. If the work is done in a professional garage, the work may be entered under your VIN which will create a record of aftermarket parts. So, yeah, the insurance company will always find out about any modifications.

Auto insurance is based upon risk. Lowering your car’s suspension increases the risk of getting in an accident and that of your car getting stolen. These two factors increase the auto insurance costs. You can always get better rates by changing carriers. Compare online quotes from several providers before you settle for a new insurer.